Smart Financial Steps to Take After Retirement

When it’s finally time to retire, what should you focus on besides your bucket list?

Smart Financial Steps to Take After Retirement

If you haven’t already started the task of organizing your finances for your retirement, it’s not too late to start. Whether it’s investments, downsizing, or creating a will, here are some things you should know.

Don’t Go it Alone

There are often deadlines and requirements to meet when it comes to retirement. If you have questions about where to start, or how to make sure you’ve crossed all the “t’s and dotted the “i”s, there are a lot of resources available. 

 

If you’re a member of a Credit Union, check to see if they partner with Medicare Solutions or offer estate planning guidance. You can also refer to a lawyer for help with legalizing a will, and you should always rely on an experienced realtor if you plan to sell or purchase property.

Downsizing

Speaking of property, maybe it’s finally time to downsize. You may have had children living at home who have finally moved out, or maybe you no longer have time for the upkeep that your current home requires. You have options when it comes to downsizing, including renting out your current home, or selling it and investing the equity in something better suited to your current lifestyle.

Renting Your Property

Whether or not you have the time, energy, and know-how to act as a property manager for your home, hiring one is often a better option. A property management company can give you the freedom to focus on other things in retirement while they handle rent collection and property maintenance.

 

The current housing market is unable to meet demand, making now a good time to own rental property. With so many people relocating thanks to the flexibility that working from home allows, there’s a shortage of homes available. As a homeowner, it gives you leverage (since it’s a seller’s market right now) when pricing your rental. If your home is already paid off, rental income can serve as supplemental income to whatever you’re drawing from retirement funds. Even if you still owe on the mortgage of your home, a seasoned property manager can help you find the ideal price point that allows you to cover your expenses as well as have some left over.

Buying a Vacation Home

Maybe you’re finally ready to invest in that dream vacation home. From the Rocky Mountains in the West to the white sand beaches of the East, there are a lot of options available to you. But is now a good time to purchase a second home? 

 

Current real estate trends show that mortgage interest rates may go up in 2022; this means locking in the 3% rates now could be a great investment. If you choose to wait, however, it could also be beneficial as there may not be as much competition between buyers. If you want to learn more about whether or not it’s a good time to purchase a vacation property, you can read THIS ARTICLE from Lakota Real Estate Colorado.

 

Of course, maybe it’s simply time to sell what you have and move into a cozy condo with a homeowner’s association that will shovel your walks, mow your lawn, and provide recreational activities in your neighborhood such as tennis courts and a pool. If that’s the route you want to take, by all means, go for it! A real estate agent can help you price your current home appropriately so you can get the most equity possible and invest it in a place where you can enjoy your Golden Years.

Estate Planning

You may not want to bring attention to a time when you’re no longer around, but it’s important to take care of your estate planning when you have the ability to do so. Leaving the division of your assets up to loved ones after you die is not the kind of legacy for which you want to be remembered. Adding legal woes to their grief is not helpful.

 

As mentioned previously, some credit unions and banks have estate planning guides. Or you can refer to a lawyer who specializes in estate planning. Investopedia recommends the following when getting your financial affairs in order:

 

  • Itemize your assets
  • Itemize your debts
  • Consolidate retirement accounts
  • List your memberships – clubs, charities, AARP, AAA, recreation centers, etc…
  • Update your insurance policy beneficiaries
  • Draft a will
  • Assign “Transfer on Death” designations
  • Assign an executor of your will

 

Most importantly, share these documents with anyone who will be involved in managing your estate after you pass away. Your financial advisor and/or attorney can ensure you’re covering all the bases if you have any questions.

What to Include in a Will

A will designates who is in charge of your estate when you die. It should list your assets (real estate, money, physical items of value) and who the beneficiary of those assets will be. You can leave your belongings or wealth to an individual, divide it up, or bequeath it to an institution, such as a charity or a museum. 

 

If you neglect to name specific beneficiaries in your will, there is no guarantee they will inherit the items you intend for them. Being in a committed relationship with someone doesn’t offer them legal recourse to inherit anything from your estate at the time of your passing. Additionally, your children do not automatically inherit your assets if you die without a will that leaves instructions.

 

Be sure you also indicate what you want to happen for any dependents or pets you have at the time of your death. Be specific about who will care for minor children or your beloved dog so their needs can be promptly met.

 

After taking care to leave detailed information about your assets and beneficiaries, be sure your will is signed by yourself and the required witnesses. You should also include a notarized “self-proving affidavit” to your will so it cannot be contested for validity.

Medicare

Did you know you may actually need to sign up for Medicare before you retire? Depending on when you plan to step away from the workforce, it could happen after the deadline for your Medicare application. 

 

In order to be eligible for Medicare, you need to apply before you turn 65. If you neglect this deadline, you run the risk of paying more for your healthcare coverage, as well as having a lapse in coverage before Medicare begins. Even if you plan to continue working after the age of 65, you’ll still want to enroll in Medicare so you have continued health coverage when the time for retirement does come.

 

With a little planning, you can sail into retirement and know that you’ve tied up loose ends. Not only will you have the opportunity to enjoy yourself, but you can rest assured that you’ve done what you can to provide for your family after you’re gone. There’s no better legacy to leave.

 

Current Supply Chain Woes

For the last couple of years, supply chains have been affected by myriad factors: lack of labor, increased demand, and the increased cost to ship goods around the world.

 

When you’re running a business, these supply chain issues can lead to financial ruin unless you can get creative regarding sourcing materials. You may need to reevaluate your manufacturing process to save money or pivot your business plan. Is there another avenue you can explore in your niche to help you overcome issues with supply?

What Has Caused a Shortage of Goods?

At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, consumers began hoarding goods. Toilet paper, over-the-counter medicine, and soap were purchased in bulk due to fear of the unknown. Businesses that manufactured and distributed these items couldn’t keep up with demand, especially as many ceased operations due to lock-down requirements. Despite the progress being made when it comes to living in a world affected by this virus, it’s been hard to make up for the lost time.

Worker Shortage

Lack of labor affected every link in the supply chain. Let’s look at the lumber industry, for example. If there isn’t a full crew harvesting the timber, it will take longer to get raw material to the mills. The mills themselves are understaffed, so it takes longer to cultivate the wood into usable lumber. Then, when the timber has been prepped for distribution to wholesale and retail markets, there are fewer truck drivers available to haul the goods. 

 

Due to many people being stuck inside the same four walls day in and day out, they decided to tackle home improvement projects to make living, schooling, and working from home more bearable. This created an increased demand for lumber, which could not be met. It was like a perfect storm; materials were scarce to begin with, and then people wanted more in the midst of the shortage.

 

When it takes longer to source and deliver raw materials, they cost more so each link in the supply chain can earn the money they need to continue operating. They aren’t producing as much as they were in years past, so they have to make up for it somehow. 

What’s Causing the Labor Shortage?

You’d think people would be anxious to get back to work after lockdown restrictions were lifted around the world. However, there are a number of reasons that may be preventing people from rejoining the workforce.

 

Fear of Illness

Some people are still being cautious when it comes to potential exposure to illness. As a result, they don’t want to work in an environment where they don’t feel safe. In this same vein, many immigrants returned to their homelands during the pandemic and were never able to return to their previous employment. Whether it was due to the fear of getting sick, or the need to live somewhere they could be financially stable, it left a gap in the workforce.

 

Lack of Skills

Although working from home is now more common than ever, some people don’t have the skills necessary to do so. Whether they work in a field that doesn’t compute with telecommuting, or they don’t know how to use a computer or they don’t have access to the Internet, working from home isn’t feasible for many.

 

Dissatisfaction with Wages

In these times, many of us have simply had enough of being underappreciated. If the work we did pre-pandemic was so essential, why didn’t the wages and compensation plans reflect it? Many people are no longer willing to settle for low pay rates, and that’s reflected in understaffed businesses around the nation.

 

Tempting Unemployment Benefits

Finally, some economists surmise that robust unemployment benefits offer no incentive for people to return to the workforce. Why clock in every day at an underpaying job when you can fill your day with other activities while still receiving unemployment pay?

Materials Shortage

Whether it’s raw materials like gypsum for drywall or finished products like computer chips for vehicles, there’s a shortage worldwide. Industries that produce these items and more have been brought to a halt due to labor shortages, or straight-up closures of businesses during the pandemic.

 

As the economy recovers and consumers feel comfortable spending once again, there simply aren’t enough materials to meet demand. Even if they could be shipped quickly from the source to the consumer, they’d have to exist first.

Power Outages

China, a main supplier of goods for the US and Europe, is experiencing an energy crisis on the heels of the Covid-19 pandemic. On top of labor shortages and expensive shipping costs, power outages and power use restrictions affect businesses around the world. Brands including Apple, Mercedes, Tesla, and Volkswagen are experiencing shortages due to power rationing in China. Industries producing steel, aluminum, cement, fertilizer have been negatively impacted as well.

Increased Overhead Costs

Freight rates for items coming to the United States from China have skyrocketed, compounding the supply chain issues. Even if a manufacturer has resources, getting them to wholesalers, retailers, and then consumers is expensive. Companies with smaller profit margins are impacted more heavily when overhead costs increase, and they’re usually the first to close their doors.

Overcoming Supply Chain Woes

So what is a business to do when so many factors are out of its control? Sequoia Group has suggestions for improving supply chain agility, which can be found HERE.

 

Additionally, we need to shift our way of thinking. We can no longer expect same-day delivery for goods. We have to accept that instant gratification is no longer feasible for goods and services; we have to be willing to wait.

 

Nick Vyas, executive director of Kendrick Global Supply Chain Management, has shared that we may be looking at at least six more months before we see a positive change in supply issues. We have to get through the 2021 holiday season, and then the shifts might start to occur.

If your business or personal finances suffer as a result of supply chain woes, it’s not a sign of failure. Bankruptcy lawyer Rulon T. Burton reminds clients that filing for bankruptcy is “a path towards improvement.” We can’t all come out of this historic time unscathed, and there’s no shame in altering the way we do business or live our personal lives.

The First Steps to Globalizing Your Small Business

Whether your business is small or quickly growing, it’s important to think toward the future. For many business owners, this means thinking globally. In a world where digital technology has changed how we do business every day, it’s not difficult to see why our business models have changed along with it. The way we communicate is key. The way we integrate technology into our supply chain systems is vital.

Continue reading “The First Steps to Globalizing Your Small Business”

Hanging in There: Getting a Business Valuation During the Pandemic

For as long as I can remember, I have been someone on the move: I never liked sitting still in class, I hated being stuck at home doing homework when I could have been outdoors playing, and I hated being tied to a desk job once I entered the workforce. For me, working a steady but adventure-free job feels a whole lot like taking a swim while wearing a pair of cement shoes—like I’m drowning in paperwork, administrative bureaucracy, and unimaginative thinking.

 

When I combined all of that with the student debt I racked up to go to school to get that unfulfilling job, I wound up being a success on paper, but feeling like I’d failed at realizing my own personal vision for the future. Finally, after what seems like way too many years wasted on a stranger’s vision for my life, I decided to take matters into my own hands, and jump head-first into a new direction: one that led me directly into my passions, and not away from them.

 

I’d spent years in high school and college as a long-distance runner, and although I wasn’t sure how to actualize it, my gut was telling me that I would have a fulfilling career in fitness. I started with small, but significant steps: I went “back to school” and completed a certification for personal training, then started to build up a small stable of clients at my local gym.

Simultaneously, I started an online presence and branded my personal vision for an all-inclusive, “everyone welcome” style of boutique training; although I’d often scoff at those “Instagram Models’ who’d spend half their lives monetizing their very existence to make a name for themselves, I begrudgingly adopted many of the same techniques to build my online presence, and to associate my “fast, fun, and fair” fitness routines with my brand.

A Different Kind of Gains

Soon enough, I had amassed an online client base that began to clamor for “in-person” training—the kind of clients that could keep doors open at a physical gym—should I decide to procure a space in which to build one. Suddenly, I was seeing myself the way I’d always been happiest at every stage of my life—constantly on the hunt for the next exciting opportunity and adventure. I knew it would be risky, and I was only able to procure a few initial investors to get started, but I knew that I’d be offering a tried and true product to a select base of loyal customers and that my business would grow once the word had gotten out. So, four years ago, riding on the coattails of a new bull market, and the end of the 2008 economic downturn, I went for it—the doors to my elite training gym opened. I was so sure that they always would be,

Closing Time

Once the pandemic forced the closure of my physical location, I spent a couple of sleepless nights wondering what I was going to do to keep myself in business, and I won’t lie: there were several moments when I felt that my new business was done for and that I’d be shackled to a desk again in a year or so once a vaccine had been developed.

However, I was able to push past that initial heartbreak, and tilt my eyes skyward; the most difficult aspect of working a classic desk job had been the missed opportunities for constant innovation: why would I let the pandemic take that spirit for me now? So, I listed off some ways to keep afloat while waiting for the all-clear to begin in-person classes and training again:

 

  1. One-on-one digital training sessions with premiere clients.
  2. Consistent video updates on the gym’s social platforms, with varied subjects that include: nutrition, at-home workouts, the latest in terms of safety guidelines, and the importance of a lifetime of continued physical fitness. 
  3. Offering price codes and limited offers that can only be redeemed if purchased now, to increase cash flow.
  4. Creating original content that expresses the value of continued membership: now more than ever, a clients’ need to be a valued member of a community is important to not only their physical well-being but their mental health as well. 

 

C’mon Now, Just Give Me One More 

These practices—along with evaluating my business professionally to better predict my next moves—have been essential in the fight to keep above water while riding the pandemic’s wave. The valuation process, although brutally honest and forthcoming, was anything but disheartening. Although professionals do have to take into account the obvious global disruption, and what that means for your business personally, the right evaluators will also take the “soul” of your business into account during their reckoning.

I found that, even with the hardships going forward, the evaluation process reassured me that my vision for a fitter future is still on track, no matter the obstacles. Together with my continued loyal online client base, I will be able to expand in the future with capital investors—as long as I hold on to today. 

 

Just one more rep, folks.